Not all of my friends enjoy cooking as much as I do. When they come over for dinner, they know we’ll do most of our chatting in the kitchen, they on a chair at the table and me at the stovetop, putting the finishing touches on our meal. These friends may be perfectly happy being cooked for, but they do still like to contribute. For that reason, I like to keep a few recipes on hand that anyone can prepare, no matter their cooking prowess—or lack thereof.
Spring rolls are a great assignment for a helpful friend. Though they don’t require any actual cooking, they do require some focus and a gentle hand when it comes to rolling them into tight cylinders. It may take a few rolls before you or your friends perfect the technique, but they’ll taste just as good whether they’re picture perfect or a bit less refined.
Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Makes about 10 spring rolls
1 package (8-inch) round rice paper wrappers
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved and cut into thin strips
1 large carrot, peeled, halved and cut into thin strips
1 mango, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 cup bean sprouts
½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
Peanut Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1. For dipping sauce: Whisk together all ingredients in small bowl. (Whisk in water 1 teaspoon at a time if too thick.) Set aside.
2. Immerse one rice wrapper in one inch of water until just pliable, about 10 seconds. Transfer wrapper to work surface. Place two leaves of each herb in middle of wrapper, about one-third of the way up. On top of that, mound several strips of cucumber, carrot and mango, then several bean sprouts. Sprinkle some peanuts over the top.
3. Fold bottom border of wrapper over filling, then fold edges over that. Then, like rolling a burrito, roll filling away from you until it forms a tight, compact cylinder. Transfer to serving platter and serve with dipping sauce.